Velvet Shoes -
for soprano and piano
Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.
I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as a white cow’s milk,
Than the breast of a gull.
We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.
We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.
4 pages, circa 3' 00"
The text is from "Still Colors," in Poetry: A Magazine of
Verse, 1912–22, edited by Harriet Monroe. For other settings of Wylie's
The four stanzas of poetry are treated as two, the setting a
simple A-A form. Two against three rhythms are expanded from repeated chords
into more fluid gestures to underpin the sweet sense and imaginative imagery
of the text. As Wylie had spoken of her work as done by "small clean
technique," the gestures here are few and used as harmonic and structural
brushstrokes to paint the scene, all of white.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
in A4 format